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What to Expect When Your Employee is Expecting

You don't need to be an expert on leaves to support your employee and the rest of your team, effectively managing this transition.
Couple holding a newborn baby

Updated November 2020

When your employees announces they are expecting a child, it is important that you know what type of support and resources are available to them after the baby arrives—and not just for the pregnant mothers-to-be. Your employees may be expecting fathers, same-sex spouses or registered domestic partners; they may be caring for a newborn, adopting a child or becoming foster parents.

You don’t need to be an expert on disability and leave laws and processes; the Disability Leave Services team within University HR and your HR representative are working alongside our claims manager on that. But you can support your employee and the rest of your team by effectively managing this transition. Here are some ways you can help.




Types of Leave

Your HR Representative can answer questions about how paid family leave works. In short: bonding leave is designed for parents of newborns, adopted children and foster children during their first year. Up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave is granted to eligible employees. And Stanford provides generous wage replacement for some of that time (read more below).

Plan ahead. Employees should  review the Steps for Taking Leave Checklist and attend one of the monthly Maternity and Child Care Workshop presented by University HR.

Give notice. Managers should know that employees are advised to give at least 30 days notice before taking a leave, whenever possible, to help plan for the leave.

Ask what your employee needs. This time away can be taken in increments (typically two weeks or more at a time) over a 12-month period. Talk through variations of the employee’s scheduled time off, which will also help you adjust your workforce plan.

Develop a transition plan with the employee. Work together to identify what can be reassigned before the leave. If your employee manages others, make sure they are briefed on what to do when their manager is gone and what the temporary reporting structure will be.

Communicate with the entire team about expectations. Although you should be careful to not discuss personal details of your employee's leave widely, you can make colleagues part of the project planning process when there is a planned leave, and show appreciation for those who take on added responsibilities.

Getting Paid on Leave

Paid family leave (PFL) helps with pay while on bonding leave. Benefits-eligible employees may receive 100% of their base pay for the first six weeks, paid through a combination of disability insurance and Stanford supplement. For Weeks 7-8, they may be paid through disability insurance, up to 60% of a weekly maximum of their base pay, and then they can use accruals, as available, to reach 100% of base pay. The remainder of the job-protected leave (four weeks) may be taken using only accrued time off, as available, or as approved, unpaid leave. Read more about how this works.

Disability Leave Services in UHR will calculate the amount of pay employees can expect during leave. Don’t let an employee assume they are ineligible for leave. Some leaves are complex, especially for part-time employees, or employees who do not have vacation time accrued.

Timecard management. Disability and Leaves Services will administer the employee’s timecard during leave; neither the employee nor manager will have to make entries during the leave.

Benefits Changes as a
Life Event

Updating benefits. Employees should submit a Life Event Change through the My Benefits portal and use the new Upload Documents tool to submit relevant paperwork.

They can also review and change beneficiaries, and consider setting up a Dependent Day Care Flexible Spending Account, after leave ends.

Make sure your employee understands this is a life event that allows for changing Benefits elections. New parents only have 31 days from birth or date of placement to add a child to their health insurance plan, otherwise they have to wait until the next Open Enrollment period.

Work Life After Baby

Returning to work. The arrival of a new child is only the beginning of this new chapter for working parents. The WorkLife Office has many resources from on-site and off-site child care options, to back-up care, to connecting with other parents.

Employees should review the Choosing Child Care Guide as well as the details of the Back-Up Child Care Advantage (BUCA) program.

Employees will also find many financial resources through WorkLife, including the Child Care Subsidy Grant program, the Faculty Child Care Assistance Program, and the Adoption Assistance Program

Prepare for your employee’s return. Encourage your employee to register for WorkLife’s quarterly workshop, BABBLE: Back After Baby Bonding Leave Ends. The program is designed to educate new parents on the many resources at Stanford that help them manage their work and family needs and provide actionable tips to ease this life transition.

Create a safe environment to explore what your employee’s new routine will be, and discuss any anxieties they may have with returning to work. Identify where there might be flexibility in their schedule moving forward (i.e. an appropriate and temporary phase-return-to-work schedule, adjusting their standard start or end time).

The important thing to remember is that there are many resources for managers who are helping an employee navigate a leave. If you aren't sure about how to handle a situation (i.e., Where are lactation rooms located? Can I ask the employee to work while on leave?), take time to ask your HR representative. Because when employees feel their home life is organized and supported, they will have more energy and focus to manage the competing demands of work and family. And when you are proactive in planning for a leave, your employees will appreciate your leadership.

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